Book Review

Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Ava Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga. Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.


“The following is the story of my young life as I remember it.It is the truth as I know it. Of all the stories and myths that surrounded my family and my life – some of them thoughtfully scattered by you perhaps – let it be said that, in the end, I found all of them to be strangely, even beautifully true.”

First, let’s just take a moment to actually admire the beauty that is this book ^_^

I fell in love with the cover before I fell in love with blurb of this book. A girl with wings? That is what attracted me to this book. I took her to be an angel (mistakenly, Ava tells me! She is just a girl after all!), and I love angels. Yes, it’s the Castiel effect. He is totes adorbs 😛

Ava tells me her being born with wings is what led her to this journey to understand her history, and her family’s history. And this story is proof that her story might just be out of this world, yet is still as beautiful as every one else’s.

“If the past had taught her anything, it was that as long as she didn’t love someone, he wasn’t likely to die or disappear.”

To understand herself, she went back to Grandmother, Emilienne’s life. The eldest daughter of Beauregard Roux and Maman, came to America for a better life, and her siblings, came to America for a better life. Now the Roux family was always a little strange.A little extra sensitive, they all had their different quirks, but all have been starved for love. Seeing her mother, then her siblings and herself lose everything over love, Emilienne has decided that letting love rule her life would never happen.

To save herself, she marries a man, who wouldn’t threaten her heart. He gives her a daughter, Vivian, whom she can’t understand, and hence is aloof with.

“Some sacrifices aren’t worth the cost. Even, or perhaps most, especially, those made out of love.”

Vivian, Ava’s mother, on the other hand, is a precarious girl who falls in love with her best friend. A best friend who honestly, isn’t worth it. That experience gives Vivian her twins, a girl born with wings and a boy who wasn’t, yet was still strange. She kept them coddled believing that the world wouldn’t accept their strangeness.

Ava, for all her winged appearance, has not been given a chance of a normal life. When she does gets the chance, things unravel quite fast. And that is was this story is all about.

“Just because love don’t look the way you think it should, don’t  mean that you don’t have it.”

The author has done an amazing job to make the reader understand that being strange doesn’t mean anything is wrong. It just means that you are different, yet perfect the way you are. This whole book revolves around the idea of love. How we perceive love to be only one of a kind, yet never understand nor see the way love surrounds us every single moment of our lives.

Beautiful debut by an author whose future works I look forward to.


4.5 / 5 Stars


If you love story that flows even though there are both past and present explained together, then pick this up. Also, pick this one up, especially if you love reading something different, yet something strangely familiar at the same time. The writing is beautiful and stays with you long after you have closed the book.


8 thoughts on “Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton”

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